Scotty’s Little Soldiers helped six-year-old Swaffham boy remember his mum after she died of cancer
- Credit: Mark Every
Joseph Every, from Swaffham, was only two when he lost his mum Joanna Every to cancer.
Mrs Every began serving in the Royal Air Force at Marham in 2002 when she was 21-years-old. During her time there she met her husband, military engineer Mark Every, and they served in many countries together including Afghanistan.
Mr Every proposed to Joanna in 2009 and two years later she fell pregnant with Joseph.
Joseph, now 6, was born on June 22, 2011, but during childbirth Mrs Every suffered a significant injury which left her with ongoing health issues.
When Joseph turned two, the family received devastating news - Joanna was diagnosed with rectal cancer and it quickly spread to her liver.
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'She was very stoic. She was young and a strong fighter,' Mr Every added. 'If she did know [she was going to die] she didn't let me know.'
During her last few weeks, the family celebrated Joanna's birthday and Joseph's christening and had one last day out together at Silverstone Grand Prix. Two weeks later, Joanna passed away on July 11, 2013, aged 32. She last saw her son on the Sunday before she died.
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Mr Every said: 'She gave him a hug. She was lucid enough to speak and say goodbye to him before I took him home. The end came quickly: she was doing really well but when she started going downhill it happened really fast. At the time, I wasn't sure how I would cope as a single dad. Joseph has had certain signs of regression with his speech. It went back to how it was when his mum was alive, which was picked up as a sign of bereavement. But overall, he coped as well as any toddler could.
'You have no idea really what's going on in his mind he just knew that we didn't go to hospital to see mummy anymore.'
That same year, Scotty's Little Soldiers founder Nikki Scott got in touch with Mr Every after seeing his advertisement for a baby-sitter. Mr Every added: 'She told me all about the charity and I knew it was what Joseph needed. He has been a member for over three years now and gets involved in all sorts of activities organized by the charity and the support during the grieving process has been incredible. Mother's Day is particularly hard, it's a sad day for Joseph, I feel more pain for him than myself.'
How you can help
From one young woman's determination to see her two young children smile again, Scotty's Little Soldiers has grown to support more than 150 families who have lost a parent in the armed services.
As well as the children of personnel killed in action, it also provides a lifeline to those who have lost a parent from accident or illness.
There are a number of ways you can help them do it:
• Join the Business Heroes Club – request a free Scotty's Business Heroes pack by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or download here.
• Get Involved – volunteer or fundraise for Scotty's Little Soldiers, find out more here.
• Take part in Bobble Hat Day! – Wear your favourite bobble hat on 8th December and donate by texting BHAT17 £2 to 70070. Find out more here.
To make a donations to Scotty's Little Soldiers
• Text SLSC17 £2 £4 or £5 to 70070
• Or call 08000 928571.
Scotty's shopping list
Here's how your money can help the children of our fallen heroes:
£20 A family meal voucher for Pizza Hut
£25 An individually-selected birthday present
£60 Three anniversary vouchers, sent to members at the time of their parent's death to remind them Scotty's is thinking of them
£100 Ten driving lessons for a 17-year-old member
£150 One Scotty member's annual allowance which can cover the cost of music lessons, sports clubs or school trips
£500 A family go on a break to a Scotty Lodge, including their travel expenses
£1,500 A higher-education grant for those about to head off to university
£5,000 A year's worth of family remembrance meal vouchers for 250 children
£10,000 Amazing Christmas presents for 66 members, or 20 family holidays
£50,000 An amazing and magical Christmas party available for all Scotty members to attend
£105,000 A brand new Scotty holiday lodge to be used by children of our fallen heroes.